Considerable confusion often arises with the mention of mobile homes and whether their owners may use them as permanent places of residence – in other words, live in them the whole year around.
Indeed, a report by the BBC on the 5th of November 2018, revealed that some unscrupulous holiday caravan site owners appear to be misleading potential buyers by telling them that it is possible to live in their static caravan on a permanent basis.
The confusion is equally significant when arranging cover for caravans and choosing between mobile home insurance and static caravan insurance.
Clarifying the issues
Residential static caravans
Caravans on the many holiday caravan resorts up and down the country are often described as residential static caravans.
Unfortunately, this confusion of terms may give rise to the false impression that the property may be lived in on a permanent basis. In fact, the caravans themselves are designed and built for use as holiday homes only and the licence held by the owners of the site or holiday park specifically limits residence to a maximum of 11 months in any one year.
For that reason, any lease agreement between the holiday caravan’s owner and the holiday park stipulates that the owner maintains a permanent (residential) address elsewhere.
Owners of residential static caravans, therefore, are left in no doubt that the appropriate form of insurance for their holiday home is holiday leisure home insurance.
Similar confusion may also arise with lodges and chalets – some of which may be used for permanent residence and others for holidays only, depending on the local authority licence governing their use. For a holiday lodge or chalet, holiday leisure home insurance is again required.
Mobile home insurance
The picture is further complicated by the fact that the term mobile home also extends to those park homes in which owners are permitted to live the full 12 months a year – in other words, as their one and only place of residence.
For these dwellings, purpose designed park home insurance is the appropriate form of mobile home insurance required.
In terms of appearance, a park home might look very much like a residential static caravan – although the former is likely to be built to more exacting standards (typically, BS3632). The critical difference, however, is that a park home used as a permanent place of residence must be sited on a park that holds both the relevant planning permission and a specific licence for that purpose granted by the local authority.
The government website – titled Park (mobile) homes – warns that you might be forced to leave your mobile home if you are using it as your place of permanent residence and the site does not have the relevant planning permission.
Mobile home insurance vs. static caravan insurance
When arranging insurance for your mobile home, therefore, it is critical that you recognise the difference between a static caravan which you use only for holidays and occasional visits and a park home in which you live throughout the year – and opt for leisure home caravan insurance or mobile home insurance accordingly.